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Sam Sacks

Sam Sacks has 743 articles published.

Rep. Cummings Cites “Grave Concerns” Over Trump’s Emoluments Policy

A frustrated Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) sent a letter to officials within the Trump Organization, pressing for more information about how the President’s businesses operate in compliance with the US Constitution. Cummings released to the public on Wednesday a 9-page glossy pamphlet provided by the Trump Organization to the House Oversight Committee this month. The document detailed how Trump’s business would avoid violating the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which prohibits Presidents from accepting foreign gifts. Government ethics watchdogs warned that foreign entities could attempt to curry… Keep Reading

Trump Budget to Face a Receptive Capitol Hill with Knives Out for the Poor

Several Republicans have declared President Trump’s budget “dead on arrival” in Congress. But there are still a lot of shared goals in the document that could bring the two branches together—namely, the inflicting of pain on lower income Americans. Trump’s blueprint includes hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts to Medicaid and public assistance programs. Disability benefits and food stamps would be slashed, energy and rental assistance programs for the poor and elderly would also be eliminated, along with student loan affordability measures. Those drastic… Keep Reading

Another Year, Another SIGAR Panning of Afghan Rebuilding

The watchdog charged with overseeing the US government’s costly reconstruction effort in Afghanistan has more bad news: the campaign is still plagued by corruption. It is a common refrain from John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), who produces quarterly reports on the $117 billion rebuilding mission. “The big issue…is corruption,” he said on C-SPAN Monday, discussing the oversight body’s latest report. “We have problems of intense corruption in the Afghan military and police,” Sopko added. He used a metaphor his office has… Keep Reading

FCC Chair Ajit Pai Tips First Domino in Play Toward Internet Dystopia

In a vote that lasted just a few seconds, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) initiated the deconstruction of sweeping internet regulations that preserve open access to independent information. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which aims to repeal Net Neutrality protections, was approved by the three-member commission in a 2-1 party line vote on Thursday morning. Passage of the measure kicks off a public comment period that ends on August 16. During that time, the FCC will solicit feedback on its repeal proposal. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai… Keep Reading

Comey Memo Turns Up Volume on Impeachment Calls

Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) stepped to the House floor on Wednesday and made a direct appeal to impeach President Donald Trump for his firing of FBI Director James Comey. Green’s demand comes one day after it was revealed that Trump asked Comey to drop the bureau’s probe into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn before the President fired Comey. “I rise today, Mr. Speaker, to call for the impeachment of the President of the United States for obstruction of justice,” Green boomed from the House chamber. “This… Keep Reading

Trump Claims Cops are “Obstructed,” Subject to “Unfair Vilification”

The President of the United States issued a proclamation on Monday, dedicating the week to law enforcement officers. Although communities across the nation are agitating for police reforms in response to an endemic of lethal force use—more than 960 people were killed by officers in 2016—President Trump alleged cops deserve better treatment from society. “I will make it the personal priority of my administration to ensure that our police are finally treated fairly with honor and respect that they deserve,” Trump told a crowd assembled… Keep Reading

Acting FBI Chief Shoots Down Admin’s Comey Firing Justification

The man temporarily leading the FBI told senators that one of the White House’s reasons for firing James Comey was “not accurate.” Andrew McCabe, the interim FBI head, testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday, occupying a chair that was supposed to be filled by Comey, until the former Bureau director was abruptly canned by the President on Tuesday. McCabe disputed the administration’s characterization the previous day by Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, that “the rank-and-file of the FBI had lost confidence in their… Keep Reading

Rare Setback for the GOP Assault on Obama-Era Regulations

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) dismissed Democrats’ outrage over the firing of FBI Director James Comey, and promptly proceeded to business as usual in the upper chamber: repealing regulations approved by the prior administration. Only this time, the Majority Leader didn’t succeed. A motion to advance legislation that would repeal a methane emissions rule was defeated Wednesday morning in a 51-49 vote. Republicans tried to move the resolution forward under the Congressional Review Act (CRA)—a law that allows Congress to repeal recently-approved regulations by a… Keep Reading

Dept. of Energy Declares “Emergency” At Nation’s Most Radioactive Site

A tunnel collapse at the Hanford Nuclear site forced workers to evacuate or take cover out of fear of a potential radiological release. The incident occurred Tuesday morning, prompting the Department of Energy to issue an alert to employees, the media, and residents nearby. “There are concerns about subsidence in the soil covering railroad tunnels near a former chemical processing facility,” the statement read. It later described a 20-square-foot cave-in of soil into tunnels carrying “contaminated materials.” The DOE claimed that there is “no indication… Keep Reading

Sen. Cotton: Give the Military Free Rein to Use Whatever Weapons it Wishes

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) mocked the concept of civilian control of the military, and defended the recent dropping of the “Mother of all Bombs” in Afghanistan—a weapon that had never before been used in combat. During a Senate Armed Services Committee oversight hearing of US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) on Thursday, Cotton made the case for giving military operators free rein to use whatever weapons they deem necessary—regardless of what elected officials’ concerns might be. He went on to describe the fallout from the dropping… Keep Reading

FBI Suggests Assange’s Asylum Only Thing Keeping Him Out of U.S. Handcuffs

In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, FBI Director James Comey confirmed that the US is interested in arresting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The online publishing outfit–known for disclosing secret US government documents, and most recently, the internal emails of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta–is “an important focus” of the FBI, Comey told the Committee. Asked why Assange has yet to be arrested, Comey said bluntly: “He hasn’t been apprehended because he’s inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London.” The… Keep Reading

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